After a couple of a disappointing entries in the Jack Reacher saga, it’s nice to see Lee Child get back to form with Make Me.
Traveling cross country by train, Reacher stops in the town of Mother’s Rest. Curious about how the town got its name, Reacher inadvertently steps into a conspiracy and cover-up. He meets up with Michelle Chang, a private investigator who came to Mother’s Rest at her partner’s request. Now that partner is missing and Reacher is drawn into the mystery behind his disappearance.
The set-up for Make Me is classic Reacher. And for the first half, watching Reacher take swings in the dark as to exactly what he’s stumbled across is a great deal of fun and makes for a compelling mystery. It’s once we get to the second half of the story that that things begin to break down a bit. It’s not terrible by any stretch of the imagination and it certainly fits well into the Reacher mythology. But I couldn’t help but feel a bit like, “That’s it?” when we finally figure out what’s going on in Mother’s Rest and meet the various forces behind a massive cover-up.
The typical Reacher tropes are on full display here. Reacher not only has his handy travel toothbrush, but he also drinks a lot of coffee in diners and buys new clothes and underwear as needed. And yet, this time around, these tropes felt a bit more natural to the story than they have in the last couple of Reacher installments. It could be that I took a break from the Reacher novels after reading several in quick succession in the last couple of years, so these recurring threads didn’t stick out as much.
As for the ending, Child hints that there could be changes coming for Jack Reacher. To which my response is — I will believe it when I see it. We’ve had stories in the past where it seemed like Reacher might be making a longer-term connection than one book or story or might make a few changes to his nomadic lifestyle only to see those changes swept away in the next book. I will be curious to see where Child goes next with the character and for the first time in a couple of books I find myself intrigued to see where this series will go next.